Norway's not-so-secret, secret to Olympic success

Yahoo Sports
The team from Norway celebrate their silver medal during venue ceremony after the men’s 4×7.5-kilometer biathlon relay at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. They are (L-R) Lars Helge Birkeland, Tarjei Boe, Johannes Thingnes Boe and Emil Hegle Svendsen.(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
The team from Norway celebrate their silver medal during venue ceremony after the men’s 4×7.5-kilometer biathlon relay at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. They are (L-R) Lars Helge Birkeland, Tarjei Boe, Johannes Thingnes Boe and Emil Hegle Svendsen.(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Here come the Attacking Vikings again.

They’ve already won 37 medals in PyeongChang – 13 of them gold –but now they’re going for another record.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

One more medal and Team Norway will have the new record for most medals in a single Winter Olympics.

So yes, a wildly successful Olympics for the Norwegians. Just how did they do it though?

It starts from their youth sports. In Norway, any organized youth sports teams cannot keep score until they are 13.

In an interview with Time, Tore Ovrebo, the director of elite sport for the Olympiatoppen, an organization that’s part of the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports,  said that doing so helps the athlete enjoy the sport and extends their longevity.

“We want to leave the kids alone,” says Ovrebo. “We want them to play. We want them to develop, and be focused on social skills. They learn a lot from sports. They learn a lot from playing. They learn a lot from not being anxious.”

There’s also heavy emphasis on teamwork – even in individual sports like skiing or biathlon.

Ski champions like Aksel Lund Svindal have been shown offering feedback immediately after a run to their teammates, advising them how to attack the course before they make their way down hill.

Men’s downhill silver medal winner Kjetil Jansrud, left, with his compatriot Aksel Lund Svindal, who took gold.
Men’s downhill silver medal winner Kjetil Jansrud, left, with his compatriot Aksel Lund Svindal, who took gold.

Ovrebo says that comes from a commitment to having “high-character people” on the team. Or in other words – “no jerks.”

They eat meals together (wearing matching sweaters no less), play cards together, and most importantly, celebrate together.

After each medal, the chefs – the same ones who accidentally ordered and then returned thousands of eggs –make the athletes dessert.

“It’s a good feeling when there’s cake on the table every night,” says biathlete Johannes Thingnes Bo, who has won gold and two silvers in South Korea, to Time. “That’s why we have four chefs. One can’t make all that cake.”

Seems like those chefs could’ve kept those eggs.

What to Read Next